Gain the Biblical Perspective on Suffering-S13Ep6
This podcast covers Lesson 1 of Perspective Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
Through the past 2000 years, many Christians facing persecution have chosen to stay faithful to Jesus no matter the cost. But, staying faithful no matter the cost requires endurance.
Staying faithful requires endurance.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Jesus said to His followers that we will have trouble in this world. All of us. Some troubles like illness and natural disasters come from living in this fallen world and are common to everyone. Other troubles like persecution and rejection are related to being a child of God living in an unbelieving world. Then there are those we inflict upon ourselves because of sin still present within us—our own bad choices—or troubles that others inflict upon us because of their bad choices. Either way, we get stuck with the results.
Any kind of suffering is painful. We don’t need to pretend that it isn’t painful. We can grieve over the losses or what is being denied to us that we desire. Jesus understands the pain we experience.
Jesus wants to help us not only survive a lifetime of ups and downs but also to thrive as we live through them. For that,we need endurance, something that Jesus had and that the Bible says is good for us. Endurance is only learned when there is a challenge to our comfort. Biblical endurance encompasses the necessity of perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 1:4
By definition, perseverance is holding to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose without giving way.
Truth #1: Endurance is good for us.
“Endurance” or “perseverance” in the Bible is a strong word that means holding up a load with staying power and stick-to-it-iveness. Endurance carries the idea of whole life experience.
Biblical endurance is the quality that enables a person to stand on his or her feet when facing a storm head on. Endurance is good for us. It teaches us “staying power” for a long-term burden.
Truth #2: Endurance makes us stronger.
Bible study alone won’t develop endurance. Just like load-bearing exercise makes your bones stronger, troubles that challenge your faith do that, too. Biblical endurance through suffering makes us stronger.
Truth #3: Endurance is necessary to grow up into maturity.
In the process of human development, painful experiences are necessary for developing into a fully functioning, responsible adult. When we overprotect children from going through troubles, they don’t develop endurance and maturity.
Good character is enhanced through tough times as you endure and overcome them. God uses suffering to humble and test you in order to know what is in your heart. Romans 5:3-5; Deuteronomy 8:2
God strengthened the Thessalonians so that they were able to stand firm in the Lord in spite of the severe suffering. God’s goal for us is to be mature and complete.
Truth #4: Endurance is necessary to reject corrupting influences.
Bad company corrupts good character. 1 Corinthians 15:33
Recognize corrupting influences through certain characteristics. 2 Corinthians 11:19-20
- They enslave you to make you do what they want by their own rules.
- They exploit you by taking your things and making money or gain off of you.
- They take advantage of you, knowing your weakness and how to gain power over you.
- They push themselves forward, lording over you, even bullying you.
- They slap you in the face, meaning they are cruel, mean, and abusive.
- They are idle, ready to join any anti-authoritarian mob because they have no noble goals.
When you encounter people with those characteristics, the Bible says to flee from them. You can live without them. You don’t have to put up with them.
Truth #5: Endurance teaches us to depend on God more than on ourselves.
The popular saying, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” is a false teaching. God gives us more than we can handle on our own. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
Going through troubles is God’s will for us. He allows things in our lives to challenge us. It is not so we don’t need Him any longer but that we would rely on Him more. God gives everyone more than we can handle on our own in order to drive us to Him. When we do so, we see that He is worthy of our trust.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” (Psalm 40:1-3)
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His perspective on life in the present and in the future. Then, live securely in Him during this time of waiting.